A moonlight tour of a cemetery is not your average idea of a good night out. However, in the highland town of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala visitors are being offered the chance to do just that. During our two hour walk between the graves at full moon, a local guide Ernan shows the varying architectural styles of the mausoleums and once colourful characters that now rest here. Sound creepy? Well, it’s actually very interesting.
‘I advice you not to separate from the group’ says Ernan with a serious tone. ‘If you hear or see something, it’s not special effects’. He begins to smile. We walk through the entrance of the cemetery. He tells us that the elaborate entrance was built to commemorate the Sixth State of the Highlands. The effigies of presidents, former mayors and scaled down replicas of pyramids, churches and monuments can be seen everywhere. We arrive at an underground tomb. ‘Whoever wishes to enter will, for a few minutes, be in the world of the dead’ challenges Ernan. No one does.
As we walk through the cemetery he provides a fascinating insight into the local history and the different families that influenced the region. The Castillo family, for example, were owners of the local brewery, the Sanchez were credited as being the pioneers of Guatemalan football and the Enriquez built the first shopping centre in Central America. The stories of musicians, poets, painters, athletes and politicians that now rest here weave a captivating story, made all the more intriguing under the full moon.
To visit the take the cemetery tour or visit anywhere in Guatemala please do get in touch.